The 2004 Jolly's Drinks ECB Cornwall Premier League season gets underway on Sunday at 1pm. Champions Newquay travel to Troon, Grampound Road host St Just, Menheniot take on Falmouth and new boys Werrington play an East Cornwall derby at Callington.

Truro have an opening day bye, following St Buryan's shock withdrawal from the division during the winter. Each of the nine teams will play each other three times in a 24 game season. For the first time in the 15 seasons of a countywide league the balance has moved to the east of the county. Five of the nine clubs are from the former eastern section.

The playing conditions remain as last year with the exception of the introduction of a 30-yard fielding circle, for the first time in the Cornwall League. Four fielders plus the bowler and wicket-keeper must be inside the circle, at the point of delivery, throughout the entire innings. Matches remain of 110 overs maximum with the side batting first limited to 55 overs and the balance of overs available to the opposition.

Last year's champions Newquay have lost former Worcestershire and Lancashire player Ryan Driver and Cricket Development Officer Tim Marrion. Driver has taken up a player coaching post at Truro and Marrion joins him at Boscawen Park. New Zealander Scott Steward will also be missing, but on the plus side Australian Jim Boyland, who missed last year, makes a return having scored over 800 league runs in 2002. New Zealander Ben Rapson, an all rounder, is another new recruit. Young Cornwall players Rob Harrison and Neil Ivamy will be expected to build on last year's successes. Pete Bolland continues as skipper with Tim Walton his deputy.

Truro, champions in 2001 and 2002, finished a disappointing fouth last year. In a bid to regain the title they have, in addition to Driver and Marrion, also gained quick bowler Lee Caddy from Helston, who made his county debut last year. Neil Stoddard returns after a spell at Camborne at the end of last season and Carl Murphy also returns, having played for Downend in the Bristol area.

Young spinner, Andrew Libby, from Roche has also made the move to Boscawen Park to give a much-changed squad adding to the talents of skipper Tom Sharp, Jon Kent and Ben Price.

Troon's signings have been offset by the loss of a number of players. Martin Jenkin is joining Hayle and Kevin Roberts, Scott Curnow and Darren Shorland have followed Nigel Hambly's move to neighbouring Camborne. Good news for Troon, however, is that an Australian signing is likely, subject to the league regulations being met, and that Malcolm Bell, Ian Osborne, Trevor Angove and David Jenkin are all likely to figure more this season.

Falmouth, after leading in mid season, fell away to third last year. They have suffered a couple of blows losing former Northamptonshire player David Roberts, along with former Mullion bowler Tony Matthews. Both have moved to Troon with Roberts returning to his former club as a professional. Sean Hooper is skipper again at Trescobeas and Paul Goodwin makes a comeback, after a year's travelling. With Falmouth's pavilion upgrade finally given the go-ahead, this will undoubtedly cause some disruption throughout the season, with an expected completion date of the improved facilities in August.

Grampound Road, who have a new skipper in Chris Hunkin, have lost all rounder Nick Carter, also to Camborne. They have gained 21-year-old Australian Josh Platt. Having been particularly badly hit by the weather last year an upgrade in pitch covers should prove a beneficial acquisition

In the far west of the County St Just will again be led by Gareth May with Gary Thomas, who scored a 1,000 league runs last year, as his deputy. They have gained the experienced George brothers, Nick and Mark, from St Buryan. Gary Rollins, formerly from Essex, who played for Gulval last season, also joins.

The new pavilion facility is due to be ready by the beginning of May and an upgrade to the scorebox will see an electronic board, for the first time in the Premier League.

At the other end of the county Callington, again led by Jamie Hatch, look to be of similar strength to last year with no significant changes. Leading wicket taker in the Premier League last season, Ian Bishop, will lead the bowling with new county player Jim Shorten also spearheading the attack.

Menheniot have a new skipper in 18- year-old Alex Tunnadine, who in addition to hitting a record double century in the top division last year also made 83 on his full county debut. They welcome two overseas, 19 year old all-rounders, David Irwin from Zimbabwe and South African Richard Ashworth. Closer to home Mark Lister has made the move from Tideford.

Werrington return to the top flight after a six-year absence. They will rely on last season's championship winning squad with no major changes. Though aware of the task ahead, and survival being the aim, they are looking forward immensely to their young squad taking up the challenge of Premier League cricket.

Their top batsman last year was Mark Horwell, who topped a 1,000 league runs. They will look to big seasons from the talented Smeeth brothers, Ben and his younger brother Alex, who misses the start of the season due to his West of England under 15 Tour to the West Indies.

The Premier League season ends on Sunday, September 12. The matches scheduled for June 19 have been brought forward to Sunday, June 6, due to Cornwall's MCCA KO Cup tie with Bedfordshire at Luton. Two other scheduled Sundays are July 18 and August 1.

The rest of the Cornwall League begins on Saturday, May 1.